U.S. stocks slip; an early gain in European markets fades

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are moving lower on Thursday on a mixed bag of corporate earnings reports and another drop in crude oil prices. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. In Europe, stocks gave back an early gain after enthusiasm about new European Central Bank moves to spur faster growth faded.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 74 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,926 as of 2:41 p.m. Eastern time. It was up as much as 130 points earlier. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,982. The Nasdaq composite gave up 31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,642.

GUIDING LOWER: Several companies fell after issuing forecasts or results that were weaker than analysts were expecting. Canadian Solar’s U.S.-listed shares fell $2.95, or 14 percent, to $18.81 and Vail Resorts lost $6.68, or 5 percent, to $126.33.

ENERGY: U.S. crude shed 45 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $37.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was down 2 percent earlier after having jumped 4.9 percent on Wednesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost $1.02, or 2.5 percent, to $40.05 a barrel.

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THE QUOTE: “When oil falls, it conjures up images of deflation, inventories piling up and China slowing,” said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors. For investors to buy more stocks, “they want to see oil markets stabilize.”

RETAIL WIN: Dollar General rose $6.37, or 8 percent, to $81.55 after the company reported that its fourth quarter profit rose almost 6 percent, topping Wall Street expectations, as customer traffic and transaction amounts increased.

EUROPE DOWN: Germany’s DAX lost 2.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 fell 1.7 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 gave up 1.8 percent.

BOLD ECB: The European Central Bank surprised financial markets by cutting interest rates, offering cheap loans to banks and launching several new measures such as expanding its bond-buying program to include corporate bonds. The interest rate paid to commercial banks to store money at the central bank was cut further into negative territory, to minus 0.4 percent from minus 0.3 percent. The aim is to get banks to remove the money and use it to lend more.

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ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.3 percent higher. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S government bond prices fell. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.93 percent. In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.1207 from $1.0996 late Wednesday and the dollar fell to 112.97 yen from 113.40 yen.